Posts Tagged ‘TSA’

Airline fees are OUT OF CONTROL

Now I currently live 1200 miles from my job.  I only need to travel to my office about once a month.  However, even before the move I traveled to visit family and go on vacation quite frequently.  I am an elite frequent flier member on Continental but use Northwest, Continental, and now United often.

I was a little upset a few months ago to arrive at the airport in time to make the 6am flight (I was scheduled to take a 7:40am flight) but since I made it through security at 5:35 I RAN to the next terminal to see if I could fly standby on the earlier flight (I already knew the plane was half empty because I looked online).  They wanted $50 to allow me to get on the earlier flight (just implemented the week before but I didn’t know this).  Now, I had my two year old with me and the earlier we got on the plane the quicker she would go back to sleep, so I relented.  However, exactly WHY is it necessary to charge the $50?  The plane was half empty, I didn’t ask to change my flight ahead of time, and with my empty seat on the 7:40 perhaps they could use it for a new purchase or someone that was scheduled on the 6am but missed their flight.  Doesn’t it benefit the airline if passengers can leave earlier?

Then came the announcement of higher fees to book frequent flier trips.  Northwest remains the BEST, but because of the trips I took in 2008 I chose to claim Continental miles instead of Northwest, regardless of which airline I am on because I would earn elite status faster on Continental.

While Northwest charges between $5-10 to book a trip, Continental previously charged $0 for trips more than 21 days in advance, $35 within 14 days, $50 within 3 days, and $75 with less than 3 days. [I might be off, my point is it was an elevated pay structure based on advance purchase.  Now if you book with anything LESS than 21 days you must pay $75.

Okay, I understand it is a free ticket and I shouldn’t complain.  However, the REAL disappointment is the change/redeposit fee.  If you need to change or cancel one of these flights it cost $150 (up from $35 and 50 previously).  So for example, if I buy a ticket for a trip 14 days in advance, but then based on work schedule have to reschedule, that mistake will cost me $225 in JUST fees without ever having taken a trip.

Now, I am trying to book a ticket to go to work next month and can’t decided if I want to go Tuesday morning and return Thursday evening or Friday morning.  The ticket including taxes and fees will be $240.  If I choose the wrong return and have to stay for a meeting or leave because of an emergency then JUST the change fee will cost $150, almost as much as the damn ticket.

Now, I don’t fly US Airways but they should be more diligent about telling their customers they charge for water.  Both a college friend and my mother were caught off guard and were unaware they would need to pay $2 for water (in my mom’s case to take her pills). 

I just read JetBlue charges for pillows and blankets, which I don’t care one way about because I have an $80 set from Brookstone that only I have drooled on and that is okay with me 🙂

Last, I understand that airlines submit names to TSA to be checked.  However, why can’t a name on an airline ticket be changed?  If I buy a ticket for hubby and I to go to Las Vegas on vacation, but he can’t go because of work why can’t my best friend come instead?  I am paying for the seat on the plane, right?  Why does it really matter who is in it as long as they are not on a TSA no fly list?  Why does the airline even care?

What do you think?  Should airlines nickel and dime you about fees?